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The Skype Generation: How free video calling changed the Indian telecom industry

March 23, 2016 / by / 0 Comment
  • SumoMe

Ten years have passed since Skype brought the world closer with the first free video call. For a decade now, the company has changed the way people connect with their loved ones, without having to worry about costs, distance or even time. According to its company blog, Skype video call generated two trillion minutes of free video calls in the last ten years. In comparison, the time can be used to read to every child in the world for ten hours.

While most countries around the world are going to benefit from this latest announcement from Skype, India may not be very happy about this. In November 2014, the company discontinued Skype calls that were made from Skype to mobile phones and landline. However, Skype-to-Skype calls within the country are still available as well as Skype calls to mobile and landline outside the country.

The company has not disclosed the reason behind the service’s cancellation. However, according to Tech, Skype’s revoking free calls within India must be due to problems faced by Indian telecoms such as over-the-top messaging applications. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India remedied the problem by subsidizing international calls and placing a fixed 40 paise per minute call for wireless service and Rs 1.20 per minute.

India faced another telecom problem in the form of increasing rates of drop call complaints. This issue has also affected Skype calls in the country, since weak mobile signals meant weak data throughput and choppy calls. In September 2015, mobile users reported how they got disconnected in the middle of an important call. There were also reports of users moving from one room to another just to get hold of a mobile signal.

By December 2015, Union Telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asked mobile operators to improve infrastructure and address the national issue. This is also to ensure that telecoms were providing the best for their consumers, as they have promised.As an answer to the minister’s call and the growing demand to give India an immediate solution to its prevailing drop call problems, American tech company

As an answer to the minister’s call and the growing demand to give India an immediate solution to its prevailing drop call problems, American tech company 5BARz International (OTCQB: BARZ) completed the roll-out of its network extender. Using radio frequency technology, the single plug-and-play unit is capable of strengthening weak indoor signals within an area of 4,000 square feet.What makes the device revolutionary is its design and target market. CEO Daniel Bland acknowledged that there are other radio-frequency based products in the market. However, he also explained how their product is unique.

What makes the device revolutionary is its design and target market. CEO Daniel Bland acknowledged that there are other radio-frequency based products in the market. However, he also explained how their product is unique.

“We do it differently. Most solutions require a two-boxed solution: an outside antenna and inside antenna. For example, we combine those antennas into one single box solution, and that is a huge difference. It’s also wireless so you don’t have to plug it into the broadband so that’s also a huge difference,” said Bland.

Indeed, Skype has changed how people perceive video calling. While its Indian chapter suffered reports of cancelled subscriptions and signal disruption, Skype has still brought numerous developments in the country. Now that both the public and private sectors are working on solutions through regulations and revolutionary technologies the country’s Skype may see India’s mobile network problems go away, sooner rather than later.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

London-based traveller, writer and entrepreneur